PhilSci Archive

The Effectiveness of Mathematics in Physics of the Unknown

Grinbaum, Alexei (2017) The Effectiveness of Mathematics in Physics of the Unknown. [Preprint]

WarningThere is a more recent version of this item available.
[img]
Preview
Text
blackbox.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (295kB) | Preview

Abstract

If physics is a science that unveils the fundamental laws of nature, then the appearance of mathematical concepts in its language can be surprising or even mysterious. This was Eugene Wigner's argument in 1960. I show that another approach to physical theory accommodates mathematics in a perfectly reasonable way. To explore unknown processes or phenomena, one builds a theory from fundamental principles, employing them as constraints within a general mathematical framework. The rise of such theories of the unknown, which I call blackbox models, drives home the unsurprising effectiveness of mathematics. I illustrate it on the examples of Einstein's principle theories, the $S$-matrix approach in quantum field theory, effective field theories, and device-independent approaches in quantum information.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Grinbaum, Alexeialexei.grinbaum@cea.fr0000-0002-7484-1553
Keywords: Mathematics; physics; Wigner; Einstein; principle theory; S-matrix; effective field theory; device-independence
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Alexei Grinbaum
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 20:32
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2017 20:32
Item ID: 13179
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: 2017
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13179

Available Versions of this Item

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item